When I first came to Chicago over thirteen ago, the last type of cuisine I ever thought I would fall in love with is Korean, not for any other reason than the fact that I had no idea there was such a large population of Koreans living in and around the city. The first way I found out was by catching the Korean channel where I was able to watch all sorts of completely captivating Korean dramas with English subtitles. They were a fascinating glimpse into the culture and the cuisine of a place I knew very little about, but intrigued me to the point of seeking out Korean food whenever I could. I happened upon one of the largest Korean grocery stores in our area called Super H and fell in love with the produce, the freshly-made foods, the seafood, and of course learned how kimchi is made (they prepare it right in the store). I was instantly taken by the Asian flavors with the heat of chili and other spices that give Korean food that certain interesting mixture of flavor profiles that makes it so unique. Now I live further away and instead get much of my Korean food fix by watching Kimchi Chronicles and getting inspired to try all the dishes somehow.
Bibimbop with Beef
That brings me to the big surprise I was in store for when I learned that Saffron Road was adding to their line of globally inspired halal, healthy (many of which are non-GMO and Gluten Free), and convenient foods when they introduced four wonderful Korean dishes to their frozen entrées. I already loved the Italian, Indian and Moroccan dishes but this was something completely novel not just in the world of halal cuisine, but also in frozen entrées as a whole. I honestly could not get enough of these entrées and I’ll tell you why below- and I cannot tell you which one was my favorite because I can’t decide!
The fact that Saffron Road is now making frozen entrées with dhabiha halal beef is enough to make me swoon, as many of their previously introduced products are made with chicken or tofu- very good, but different. And oh, so good is this beef entree. The fire-grilled tender sirloin was so soft and tender, cut thinly but in substantial size pieces and plenty of it in the dish. It smelled so good after it had cooked, tasted buttery and was the least spicy of the four entrees I tried, in my opinion. It’s a good idea to mix the ingredients together on the plate to get the taste of all the veggies and brown rice mixed with the generous portion of meat here.
Bibimbop with Beef
Bibimbop (or “mixed-up rice,” as explained on the back of the Saffron Road box), was a dish I heard so much about in my amateur studies of Korean cuisine, although I never had a chance to try it because I couldn’t find a place that served it dhabiha halal and never really found a recipe I thought seemed authentic. Instead, this entrée served my curiosity well. The sauce is somewhat sweet, which I loved and overall the dish has a really nice and spicy kick to it. Again, just like the Beef Bulgogi, I thought the portions were very generous, so it was pretty filling and makes a nice size lunch dish, which is hard to come by with convenience foods.
Since I didn’t mention it before, I should say that Bibimpob is a legendary “royal dish prepared for the nobles of the Shilla Kingdom”, as I learned from the back of the Saffron Road box (they even teach you a bit of history when you buy a product, which is nice!). No wonder I heard so much about it in the Korean dramas!
This is another dish that has a sweet sauce called Gochujang. It has a spicy kick to it, too, but not at first- at least not in my case. I liked that it was crunchier than the other dishes (if and when you’re in the mood for that) and it seemed to have more veggies than the others, obviously because it’s a vegetarian dish. I love the brown rice in this and the other dishes. It really makes it taste wholesome and healthy that way. This particular dish is vegan and gluten free and the tofu is organic, too.
Every time I hear the word “Gochujang” I think of Kimchi Chronicles host, Marja Vongerichten. She says the Korean word beautifully and often during the unique cooking show where she and her husband, renowned French Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten are often found cooking Korean (and Korean fusion food) in their home kitchen as well as traveling abroad in Korea to show the whole gamut of exotic (to us) Korean food, including the many ways this sweet and spicy Gochujang sauce is used, which comes from red chili peppers, a popular ingredient in Korean cooking.
This Saffron Road entrée comes with tender boneless chicken, brown rice and a lovely mix of Asian vegetables. I absolutely love the sauce and find it to be the key to my heard in this and the other entrées because I like food that has flavor and a kick and healthy ingredients and these seem to have all of the above.
To find out where you can get Saffron Road products near you, check out their store locator. Also, enter the giveaway (below) to try some products for FREE!
Now you can get a chance to try these lovely new Saffron Road entrées for FREE by entering to win coupons. The winner will also receive a Saffron Road apron for all those times when you are cooking.
U.S. residents only. Leave a comment to enter. Giveaway ends Wednesday, March 26, 2014.
UPDATE: Winner of this giveaway is Rafia Awais. Please contact MHK as soon as possible with your mailing address and phone number. Thanks and congratulations!
Disclaimer: I received entrees to review, however, the opinions expressed are completely my own.